Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.
For both practical and aesthetic reasons, readers love to surround themselves with their books. Chris Shutter built this DIY bookshelf (and bike rack!) for next to zero dollars, using upcycled shipping palettes. This floating bookshelf project from More Design Please, based on angled mending plate hardware, makes it look like the books themselves are the shelves. Along with school shopping and choosing a new lunch box, one back-to-school tradition is covering your school books.
You can use a variety of destined-for-the-dumpster materials to make unique book covers that, along with duct tape, will be sturdy and protect textbooks when they get shoved into a locker or a brimming backpack.
Bonus: you can find patterned duct tape (like the plaid in the photo above) at big box stores right now.
Wash bag thoroughly with dish soap and a sponge or washcloth to remove all residual oil and crumbs. Lay book on top of folded edge (leave a tiny bit of room at the top of the chip bag to make it easier for the book to slide into the book cover once it’s assembled).
I taped each folded section in the middle, but not at the ends (you want to leave the ends open so the book covers can slide into them).


Close book cover over book, and check the placement of any artwork you want to show on the front of the book. Tape to secure (make sure you aren’t taping any area where the book is, and that the book cover is able to slide when opened and closed.
Repeat process for other side of book (trim book cover if necessary, before you put it onto the book). You can stop here if you want, or add additional decorations like stickers or cut-out pictures covered in clear tape, or a nametag or book label. Please consider updating your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Assembled from 1x8s and black pipe fittings, the construction is incredibly strong and will appeal to anyone who likes the industrial vibe. He posted a photo on Flickr, and when it blew up across the internet, he posted the instructions in the comment section. Whether your goal is to fix, tinker, build or make something better, your next adventure in DIY starts here.
Some schools require it, some don’t, but your kids are sure to get a kick out of customizing their books with covers made from recycled materials. I used two potato chip bags, but you can also use cereal bags, paper sacks (an old standby), or a variety of other product packaging.


I don’t know if recycled chip bags will fly with your middle schooler!), let the inside of the bag face outward, and they can decorate it with stickers or duct tape as they prefer.
Chip bags don’t maintain the folds as well as paper does, so the tape helped keep everything in place. She publishes Dollar Store Crafts, a daily blog devoted to hip crafting at dollar store prices, CROQ Zine, a print magazine devoted to hip crafting, and also CraftFail, a community blog that encourages crafters to share their not-so-successful craft attempts. Clear packing tape is also a great choice because it will allow the artwork on the recycled packaging to show through.
Remove book and fold chip bags at the crease, keeping fold as straight and even as possible. Using recycled packaging also teaches kids about recycling, and demonstrates that it’s a good idea to reuse things whenever possible.



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